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New Chatham boss James Collins thrilled to replace Paul Piggott at Maidstone Road

By Steve Tervet

New manager James Collins has revealed it was third time lucky when it came to landing the Chatham Town job.

Collins has been tasked with leading struggling Chats up the Southern Counties East table after his predecessor Paul Piggott managed just one win in eight games this season.

The former Lordswood boss, who takes his side to Whitstable on Saturday, knows it’s a tough job but he’s thrilled to have been chosen.

New Chatham Town boss James Collins Picture Steve Crispe

New Chatham Town boss James Collins Picture: Steve Crispe

“It’s a job I’ve wanted for a long time,” Collins said. “When I heard Paul had left, I contacted (director of football) Steve Binks.

“I’d applied for the job twice before and not been successful. That led to having a meeting with Kevin Hake and the committee on Monday night and they offered me the job after our meeting.

“I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity. It’s a big club and that’s why it’s a big job.

“I’ve been in this situation before. When I took over Lordswood we had 10 days to sign as many players as we could before the deadline with no budget so that was pretty tricky. Although we lost a couple of games, we got a little bit better.

“All the clubs I’ve been at – Cray Valley, Corinthian and Lordswood – in pre-season we’ve not had any players retained from the previous year, so it’s something I’m used to doing.

“It will probably prove a little bit more difficult getting the players I want mid-season because of the seven-day rule but it’s a massive club.

“I was blown away by the club on Saturday, the way things are done. I was blown away by the committee and their plans and how they conducted themselves and what they had to say. I want to do well for them.”

Chatham lost 4-1 at home to Beckenham in Collins’ first game in charge.

He said: “I don’t want to say the whole thing needs revamping because people have got to have an opportunity to prove they can offer the club something.

“But the team needs improving. A club of Chatham’s size shouldn’t be where they are and after Saturday, it was quite evident there’s a big job to be done on the playing front." 

Read the full interview in this week's Medway Messenger.

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